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New Teaching Programs To Begin In January 2001 At Mid-Florida Research And Education Center In Apopka

Mike Martin, (352) 392-1971
Don Poucher, (352) 392-0438

APOPKA—The University of Florida will begin new teaching programs in January 2001 at its Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, offering courses leading to degrees in agriculture, natural resource conservation and related sciences.

Mike Martin, UF vice president for agriculture and natural resources, announced the start of teaching programs during dedication ceremonies at the center’s new $12.7 million addition here today (5-31).

He said courses will be provided by faculty in the UF’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, which is part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Degree programs at the center will be offered in cooperation with other state universities and community colleges in Central Florida.

“Although we did not receive specific funding from the Florida Legislature to initiate the teaching programs, we will begin courses at this facility in the Spring semester through the use of our distance education program with existing faculty,” Martin said.

“At the same time, we will continue to work closely with our supporters in the Legislature to secure the remainder of the funds needed to fully implement the teaching program.

“We are committed to making this center a success as a central hub of our off-campus teaching program in support of the various industries in both degree and non-degree producing educational efforts,” he said.

Martin said the purchase of additional land adjacent to the center also is a top priority so that research and education programs at Leesburg and Sanford can be consolidated at the Apopka campus. He thanked the city of Apopka for its help in securing additional land.

“The city has been most patient with us in attempting to secure the land we need,” Martin said. “Unfortunately, both the city and UF are at the mercy of state land purchasing statutes, as mandated by the state constitution, which prevent us from paying more than the official state appraised value.”

He said this hurdle must be solved to fulfill the legislative mandate that allowed consolidation of the Leesburg and Sanford facilities on one site.

“The consolidation has provided us with a critical mass of faculty, facilities and land for a comprehensive teaching effort, biotechnology research, small business incubators, demonstration plots and future expansion with other research and education partners,” Martin said.